(Cue this while reading. For me, and your ears.)
I remember freshman year of college, lying in my boyfriend-at-the-time’s bed, dreaming of living in Chicago because it was a big city. New York was just too distinguished for me. I wouldn’t even dare to dream of going that big. He would say things like “You won’t move there. It’s too far from home. You can’t even live 2.5 hours away from your parents.”
I remember at the end of my freshman year, making a Michigan left after leaving the gym at Central and the 3-second pause at the yield sign was when it clicked that I needed to follow my dream. My real dream. I was going to school to be an elementary teacher. But what I really wanted was to be a magazine editor in New York City. It was the briefest moment, but so powerful that I even remember the name of the street it happened on.
I remember a journalism professor my sophomore year of college telling me about her time in grad school in New York.
“It was the most amazing age to be living in the city, and the best time of my life.”
I smiled, and thought to myself two things:
1. I need to be there when I am 21 years old.
2. That is never going to happen.
I remember telling my dad while he sat in his La-Z-Boy in the living room of my parents’ house last winter that if I don’t get into ASME (a prestigious magazine program that places you at top publications in NYC) then I will never make it to New York or work at a national magazine.
And I consistently told my friends “Oh, I applied but I won’t get in so it doesn’t even matter.”
Now it’s been over a month since I’ve written and that’s because a lot of life has been happening. Most importantly two things:
1. I am ending my current position at Real Simple magazine and starting to work at People on March 23.
Why am I leaving Real Simple?
Magazines are a funny place to be at right now. All journalism grads and soon-to-be-grads know and will know that. I was “freelancing” at Real Simple, where you solely work hours and get paid overtime, but you’re not considered “on staff” AKA no insurance, paid time off, chances for promotion, 401K, the goods.
I’ve stayed in touch with my boss at People and when the opening there came up, she contacted me to come back. I was thrilled, and terrified. I loved where I was at and loved the people at Real Simple but I was being handed a position that had a lot more security. And I get to write about the news — chase the news, roll around in it and feel the rush of being in the moment of something BIG. It’s going to feel good to have that energy again.
2. I have a boyfriend. A simply genuine, handsome man that I completely adore.
When friends from home ask me about him, the first thing I say is how patient he is. I never thought this would be the trait that I would need the most in a person. But when I’m sobbing all over his high school lacrosse T-shirt, crying about something I can’t explain or even know why I’m crying (hello, hormones!) or when I’m bent over laughing about jokes we make about the dog Maggie in the apartment next door, I look over at him and I know he’s something. Something inexplainable.
And now I am lying in my own bed in a high-rise apartment in the quaint neighborhood of Chelsea. I’m about to start working at People magazine, and I somehow have someone very special to experience this life with me.
The point is I never thought I would be living in New York. Ask me when I was 8, 15, 20 years old. I surely would have denied ever living here — not because I didn’t want to but because I thought I couldn’t. New York seemed like a foreign land where movies were made and it’s too loud and crowded and crazy to explore.
I also never thought I would find a human I could possibly share part of my soul with again. Someone who holds me at my weakest in order to make me feel whole.
That’s the thing about life and your future — it never stops coming. I remember so many moments of panic and worry and anguish and regret and terror about my future. I was scared. I felt lost but I was unknowingly exactly where I needed to be.
I wish I could take the hands of everyone in the position I was in and simply tell them: You’re going to be OK.
The life you want is out there waiting for you. You just gotta go and get it and never, ever think twice.